Williams' poor level led to Sirotkin exit, backer SMP claims

Outgoing Williams Formula 1 driver Sergey Sirotkin's backer SMP Racing has claimed it took the decision to split with the Grove-based team, citing poor performance and development rate as the reason.

Williams' poor level led to Sirotkin exit, backer SMP claims

Sirotkin, who made his grand prix debut with Williams this year, was confirmed to be leaving the team when it announced Robert Kubica as teammate to the previously-unveiled George Russell on Thursday.

“We took the decision not to continue participating in the Formula 1 world championship in the joint project with the Williams Martini Racing team,” said SMP Racing chief Boris Rotenberg in a statement.

“We were unpleasantly surprised by the team's performance level at the start of the season, and the car's development rate also turned out to be not high enough.

“Despite this, Sergey managed a good season in the circumstances, gave his 100 percent and fully accomplished the tasks set in front of him.

“We are satisfied with his work and are currently evaluating options for his racing career going forward.”

Williams has finished in the top 10 in just two races of the campaign so far, and sits last in the teams' standings heading into the Abu Dhabi finale, with nearest rival Toro Rosso well out of reach at 33 points to the British team's seven.

Sirotkin himself is responsible for just one of those points, but has largely matched his Racing Point Force India-bound sophomore teammate Lance Stroll over the course of the season.

“He [Sirotkin] will definitely contest many races as part of SMP Racing,” Rotenberg continued.

“Our decision will be announced in a short time.”

SMP Racing has backed Russian drivers in a wide variety of international series, but now also has a bespoke programme in the LMP1 category of the World Endurance Championship – with former F1 champion Jenson Button and grand prix podium finisher Vitaly Petrov part of its line-up for the current campaign.

Taking to social media, Sirotkin confirmed that the Williams split meant he would not be on the F1 grid in 2019.

“Unfortunately I will not be competing in Formula 1 next year,” he wrote. “It was a very long and difficult year, and not everything turned out the way I wanted it to.

“But I kept working, put all my effort and my soul into achieving the merited results. And, to be honest, I believe that given the circumstances we have done a respectable job.”

After the Kubica announcement, Williams F1 deputy team principal Claire Williams commented: "Lance and Sergey have done a great job for us this year under difficult circumstances.

"They’ve both been incredibly professional and given everything on and off the race track. Our thanks from everybody at Williams for everything they’ve done when they’ve been with us."

Sergey Sirotkin, Williams Racing

Sergey Sirotkin, Williams Racing

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

shares
comments
Williams announces Kubica as race driver for 2019

Previous article

Williams announces Kubica as race driver for 2019

Next article

Why Red Bull's most exciting junior won't be silenced

Why Red Bull's most exciting junior won't be silenced
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sergey Sirotkin
Teams Williams , SMP Racing
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021